3 lbs russet potatoes
2 T butter
1 T oil
4 stalks celery, fine dice
1/2 medium onion, fine dice
2 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c cream
1 t salt
2 grinds black pepper
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
6 oz bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pierce potatoes all over and bake for 1 hour. Let cool until able to be handled. This step can be done in advance.
2. Cut the potatoes in half length-wise, and scoop out the insides and set aside. Reserve one half potato skin and save the rest for making potato skins later on as a snack. Chop the reserved skin into bite-sized pieces and add to scooped potato.
3. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter. Sauté the celery and onions until soft. Do not brown.
4. Add the stock, cream, pepper and salt to the pot. Bring to a simmer.
5. Add potatoes and mash to the desired texture. (I prefer it on the chunky side.) Heat through.
6. Add 3 oz of the grated cheese to the pot and whisk until melted and combined.
7. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with bacon bits, reserved cheese, and chives.
Note: 3 T ghee can be used in place of the butter and oil
Bear Bibeault wrote:It'd be easy to make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon and substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
I'd probably add a little more salt to make up for the bacon. Or maybe add croutons instead of the bacon.
There is something like "vegetarian bacon", which doesn't taste as good as real bacon, but still has a nice taste and can be made crispy. Before I became vegetarian I used to soak my bread in the bacon fat and eat the skin and the white fatty part and all.
Report from the field: We tried this recipe at my house. Our planning wasn't quite up to scratch because it turned out we had neither onions nor cheddar cheese, but even so it tasted good. Very filling too. We would make it again.
However after we used the oven to bake two dozen potatoes, the next time we turned the oven on it smelled like somebody was smoking a cheap cigar in the house.